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PS20m cocaine haul was one of biggest ever; PAIR GUILTY AFTER HUGE AMOUNT OF DRUGS FOUND IN FROZEN FOOD.

Byline: IAN HUGHES

COCAINE with a street value of more than PS20 million was recovered in Birmingham in one of the biggest seizures ever recorded in the UK.

Much of the class A drug was destined for the streets of London. Two men have now pleaded guilty to drug offences following the seizure.

Baldev Singh Sahota, 53, of Joinings Bank, Oldbury and Shakti Gupta, 34, of Hagley Road West, Quinton, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to supply Class A drugs. They will be sentenced next month.

The operation to target the sophisticated drug supply chain was led by detectives from the Met's Specialist Crime Command.

A team of the Met's Specialist Crime officers, supported by West Midlands Police, carried out a stop of a vehicle on the A45 in Birmingham on December 11. On the same day, a further search was carried out at the Olds Trading Estate Park in Hockley.

They found 168kg of cocaine in the vehicle. A further 4kg of cocaine and MDMA and 1kg of cutting agent were discovered at the address.

A large quantity of Class A drugs had been mixed among pallets of frozen food.

Detective Superintendent Neil Ballard said: "This operation has resulted in one of the largest land seizures of cocaine within the UK.

"It is a significant find which demonstrates the scale of this organised drug supply operation which the Met has successfully dismantled.

"The audacity of those involved and the lack of consideration for the impact of their criminality is clear.

"We have continually stated there is an inextricable link between the supply of drugs and the violence we have seen unfolding on the streets of London. The distribution of this cocaine would have no doubt had a devastating impact on our communities."

He added: "We work closely with other units across the Met and key partners including the NCA, Regional Organised Crime Units and County Forces to tackle serious and organised criminality.

"I'm grateful to our colleagues from West Midlands Police who supported the Met in this operation and prosecution," he added.

CAPTION(S):

Police seized a haul of cocaine, MDMA and cutting agent

Baldev Sahota and Shakti Gupta pleaded guilty to a charge of conspiracy to supply drugs

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Author:IAN HUGHES
Publication:Birmingham Mail (England)
Geographic Code:4EUUK
Date:Jan 11, 2020
Words:369
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